11 Top Excuses Traffic Cops Hear

A new survey by Insurance.com ranks popular excuses drivers give to police when stopped for a potential violation.

11 Top Excuses Traffic Cops Hear Photo (cc) by woodleywonderworks

This post comes from Michelle Megna at partner site Insurance.com.

“But, officer, I didn’t see the sign!” Chances are, all traffic cops have heard that, as it’s the top excuse in Insurance.com’s new survey of explanations drivers give when stopped by an officer.

Failing to notice a roadside sign isn’t the only excuse that revolves around the driver’s unfortunate “lack of information.” Being lost and being unaware of car equipment failure are also among the most common replies drivers give to police when pulled over for a potential ticket, according to the Insurance.com “Ticketmasters” survey.

Among people who say they have used excuses during a traffic stop, here’s how explanations break down:

  1. I couldn’t see the sign telling me not to do it — 20.4 percent.
  2. I’m lost and unfamiliar with the roads — 15.6 percent.
  3. I didn’t know it was broken — 12.4 percent.
  4. Everyone else was doing it — 6.4 percent.
  5. I’m having an emergency situation in my car (for instance, spilled a hot drink on your lap) — 5.4 percent
  6. I missed my turn/exit — 4.8 percent.
  7. I had to go to the bathroom — 4.6 percent.
  8. I didn’t do anything dangerous — 4.2 percent.
  9. I was on my way to an emergency (for example, to help someone who is ill or injured) — 4 percent.
  10. My GPS said it was the right thing to do — 2.2 percent.
  11. I’m just helping out; I wasn’t even supposed to be driving (for example, your friend is intoxicated) — 2 percent.

Men vs. women

When it comes to men rationalizing risky actions behind the wheel, most blame their own altruism — “I’m just helping out. I wasn’t even supposed to be driving!” — and GPS devotion — “My GPS said it was the right thing to do.”

Not so for women. Only 10 percent of people who said they were “just helping out” were female, according to survey results.

Or consider this: Of drivers who said they were following GPS directions when pulled over, 82 percent were men.

The top excuses for women include being lost and having to go to the bathroom. Sixty-five percent of people who used those two excuses were women. (You can find the full results broken down by gender here.)

How much tickets raise car insurance rates

If your excuses don’t work and you get a ticket, your car insurance rates are likely to increase. Insurance.com’s Uh-Oh! Calculator will tell you the average rate increases for 14 common traffic violations.


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